Velara Toys was formed when two sisters, Roobini and Trisshala Sittampalam, decided to transform the toy industry by breaking the barriers between genders.
It began in September 2015 when Trisshala visited the Disney Store in Oxford Street, London, to check out the new toy line of the latest Star Wars film. Looking at the action figures displayed, she could not find the "Rey" figure, Star Wars' latest female character. Despite Rey being the main character of the movie, she was not included.
This turned out to be a trend with female characters such as the iconic "Princess Leia" character from the Star Wars franchise, Marvel's "Black Widow", and "Gamora". Armed with this knowledge, she and her sister, Roobini decided to to create their own female action figures.
Why The Need
The toy industry is segregated by gender. While the ‘boy’ aisle is filled with a variety of toys from cars, computers and electronics, the ‘girl' aisle is predominantly pink and filled with dolls and kitchen sets. Although there is nothing wrong with playing with dolls, a limited playing experience may have a lasting negative effect on a child. A doll alone will not teach and equip a child with all the skills he or she would need.
The importance of options
Children do not have presumptions on social norms unless it’s been taught or told to them. When toy companies market certain products to them, they start to believe societal structures and create barriers around their gender.
The limited toys available for girls is worrisome. As a result, their ability to develop cognitive and spatial skills is narrower than little boys, as they are less exposed at a young age to more things. An example of this is seen in any pink section of a toy store where science kits or toy cars are noticeably absent for girls, as toy companies have decided that girls only want dolls and kitchen sets. Girls should have a wider variety of toys and the option of choosing their own favourite toys without interference.
Girls and boys do have differences. But we argue those differences don't translate to playing with different toys. A girl and a boy may both play with a toy truck but they might have different ways of playing with them. By telling them which toys they should play with, we would only stunt their imagination and limit their freedom.
More than that, it creates a divide between girls and boys. There's no reason why girls and boys can't play together. All it does is limit the social groups children are exposed to at a young age and once again hinders their potential to grow.
Toys matter to kids. Some toys have such an emotional attachment to children that they carry it everywhere with them, seeing it as their companion or their role model.
Our girls are only being encouraged to play with dolls and kitchen sets. This instills in them the idea that their appearance is their most valuable asset. Boys, on the other hand are encouraged to play with science kits and construction sets. This may lead to the under-representation of women in engineering and science industries because they were not encouraged from a young age to take an interest in such fields.
Velara Toys believes that the toy industry should not be divided by gender. Our mission is simple- to break the barriers between genders, by creating a female action figure that appeals to both boys and girls. It is time for children, to recognise that their heroes can be women.
Children should have endless choices and limitless possibilities.